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VOL. 45 | NO. 13 | Friday, March 26, 2021

Building boom’s dark cloud

Skyrocketing lumber costs push housing prices even higher

One year into the coronavirus pandemic, Nashville builders and homeowners are holding on to the bucking bronco that is the construction industry.

RICHARD COURTNEY: REALTY CHECK

Buying frenzy sends prices on self-perpetuating climb

As the residential real estate market remains ablaze, a ritual for showing and selling homes has been established. The properties are listed and made active on a Friday, then are open for showings with 15-minute windows Saturday and Sunday, some with open houses Sunday so that shopper can view the frenzy firsthand.

REAL ESTATE

Top Davidson County commercial sales for February 2021

Top commercial real estate sales, February 2021, for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
61.0°F
Partly Cloudy
Wind: North at 6.9 mph
Humidity: 34%

EVENTS

Industry Roundtable – Childcare. Roundtables grouped by industry offer a new way to network for Gallatin Chamber members. These meetings offer a place to promote community instead of competition and to discuss what is happing in participant businesses. Coffee will be provided, and a Chamber team member will attend each meeting. The Gathering Place, 450 W Main Street, Suite B1. Thursday, 7-8 a.m. Included in Chamber membership; registration is required. Information

more events »

JOE ROGERS: MY TAKE

Baseball glove is the sweetest smell of spring

Baseball and I are celebrating our 60th anniversary together this year, dating back to when I first put on a cap and T-shirt for the Staples Athletics in Moss Point, Mississippi.

NEWSMAKERS

Weisenseel named Lipscomb executive-in-residence

Lipscomb University’s College of Business has named longtime finance executive John Weisenseel an executive-in-residence this spring.

BRIEFS

Turner Construction honored for Nashville projects

Turner Construction Company’s work on the ThreeThirtyThree project and Nashville General Hospital COVID-19 Unit project, both in Nashville, have earned the company national Excellence in Construction Eagle Awards, presented during the recent American Builders and Contractors Convention in Grapevine, Texas.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Midsize SUV luxury: Mercedes-Benz GLE vs. Genesis GV80

The new 2021 GV80 SUV is the latest vehicle from Genesis, a spinoff luxury brand from Hyundai. Packed with premium features and innovative technology, the GV80 is an intriguing rival to established midsize luxury SUVs.

PERSONAL FINANCE

Will you really run out of money in retirement?

Many U.S. households retire without enough money to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. Once retired, though, people often reduce their spending enough to make their money last, finds a recent study by David Blanchett, head of retirement research at Morningstar, and Warren Cormier, executive director of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association’s Retirement Research Center.

CAREER CORNER

Stay true to you; others will see value of your style

It’s amazing how someone says something when you’re young that doesn’t make sense until you’re older.

MILLENNIAL MONEY

Home is where gender bias, balance issues need fix

No matter how modern opposite-sex couples can be in their views on equality, old habits die hard. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this abundantly clear to parents who already struggled to find balance.

SPORTS

SEC changes format of annual spring meetings amid pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference is changing the format of its annual spring meetings normally held in Destin, Florida, because of the pandemic.

PREDATORS

Tolvanen's OT goal extends Predators' win streak to 6

NASHVILLE (AP) — Eeli Tolvanen made sure Nashville's winning streak reached a season-best six games.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Titans agree to 1-year deal with safety Matthias Farley

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with safety Matthias Farley on a one-year contract.

COURTS

Feds: 37 charged in violent drug ring led from inside Riverbend

NASHVILLE (AP) — Dozens of people are facing federal charges in a violent, years-long drug ring that an inmate orchestrated from inside a Tennessee state prison using smuggled cellphones, a federal prosecutor announced Tuesday.

High court sympathetic to college athletes in NCAA dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to give college athletes a win in a dispute with the NCAA over rules limiting their education-related compensation.

REAL ESTATE

Feb. US home contract signings tumble, now lag year-ago pace

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes last month fell by the most since last year's virus outbreak sent the economy into freefall.

ENVIRONMENT

AP interview: EPA head committed to 'scientific integrity'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving forward on a pledge to restore "scientific integrity," the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is reversing Trump administration actions that sidelined many academic scientists from key advisory boards in favor of industry figures.

AUTO INDUSTRY

GM recalling 10,000 Chevy and GMC vans due to fire risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — General Motors is recalling more than 10,000 vans due to a fire risk and recommending that owners park them outdoors away from buildings and other structures until they are repaired.

An unwelcome prank: VW purposely hoodwinks reporters

NEW YORK (AP) — Journalists are used to being wary about odd pranksters pulling April Fool's Day hoaxes at this time of year. Few expect it from a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Automakers BMW, Volvo back moratorium on deep seabed mining

BERLIN (AP) — Automakers BMW and Volvo announced Wednesday that they support a moratorium on deep seabed mining for minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and other products.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Amazon to bring workers back to offices by fall

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon plans to have its employees return to the office by fall as the tech giant transitions away from the remote work it implemented for many workers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 pushed total US deaths beyond 3.3 million last year

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed total U.S. deaths last year beyond 3.3 million, the nation's highest annual death toll, the government reported Wednesday.

France to close schools, ban domestic travel as virus surges

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced a three-week nationwide school closure and a month-long domestic travel ban, as the rapid spread of the virus ramped up pressure on hospitals.

GOP governors ignore Biden's latest plea on mask mandates

President Joe Biden's pleas for states to stick with mask mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus were being largely ignored Tuesday as several Republican governors stayed on track to drop the requirement in their states.

Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine protects younger teens

Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.

Next slide, please: Inside wonky White House virus briefings

WASHINGTON (AP) — No matter how encouraging Andy Slavitt's news is at the government's coronavirus briefings, he can always count on next-up Dr. Rochelle Walensky to deliver a downbeat.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

S&P 500 climbs, closing out its 4th straight quarterly gain

Stocks closed mostly higher on Wall Street, clinching the 4th straight quarterly gain for the S&P 500.

Analysis: Bumpy road ahead for Biden's infrastructure plan

Infrastructure was a road to nowhere for former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama. But Joe Biden believes he can use it to drive America to the future after a dozen years of false starts.

Report: Pandemic dealing setbacks to gender parity in jobs

GENEVA (AP) — The think tank behind the annual gathering of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland, says the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting gender parity in the workplace, but time will tell whether the damage to women's roles in the economy proves permanent.

Microsoft wins $22 billion deal making headsets for US Army

Microsoft won a nearly $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with its augmented reality headsets.

Global trade rebounding, lagging vaccinations pose threat

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The World Trade Organization is raising its estimate for the rebound in global trade in goods but warning that the COVID-19 pandemic still poses the greatest threat to a recovery that is being hampered by lagging vaccinations, regional disparities and weakness in the service industry.

Eager to build infrastructure, Biden plans to tax business

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden wants $2 trillion to reengineer America's infrastructure and expects the nation's corporations to pay for it.

A closer look at Biden's infrastructure and tax proposals

President Joe Biden says his proposal for an aggressive series of infrastructure investments would require $2 trillion in spending over eight years but could create millions of jobs. It would be funded by higher corporate taxes.

China's Huawei says 2020 sales rose despite US sanctions

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei said Wednesday it eked out higher sales and profit last year but growth plunged after its smartphone unit was hammered by U.S. sanctions imposed in a fight with Beijing over technology and security.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

AP-NORC poll: Biden bolstered by strong marks on pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are broadly supportive of President Joe Biden's early handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll finds, and approval of his stewardship of the economy has ticked up following passage of a sprawling $1.9 trillion relief bill.

After backlash, Delta CEO says Ga. voting law 'unacceptable'

ATLANTA (AP) — The CEO of Georgia-based Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that the state's new election law overhaul is "unacceptable" and "based on a lie," after the company faced criticism that it didn't speak out forcefully enough in opposition to the bill when it was being considered by the state's Republican leaders.

Blinken reaffirms Trump-era ruling on Hong Kong autonomy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday reaffirmed a determination made last year by the Trump administration that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous and remains undeserving of special treatment by the United States.

GOP Rep. Gaetz investigated over sexual relationship

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a prominent conservative in Congress and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he is being investigated by the Justice Department over a former relationship but denied any criminal wrongdoing.

Reversing Trump, Pentagon to release new transgender policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Wednesday will sweep away Trump-era policies that largely banned transgender people from serving in the military, issuing new rules that offer them wider access to medical care and assistance with gender transition, defense officials told The Associated Press.

Hunter Biden says he wouldn't repeat work for Ukrainian firm

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's son Hunter says his service on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which Republicans tried to turn into a negative during the 2020 presidential campaign, wasn't unethical and didn't represent a lack of judgment on his part.

G. Gordon Liddy, Watergate mastermind, dead at 90

WASHINGTON (AP) — G. Gordon Liddy, a mastermind of the Watergate burglary and a radio talk show host after emerging from prison, died Tuesday at age 90 at his daughter's home in Virginia.


TUESDAY, MARCH 30
UT SPORTS

Vols' Jaden Springer declares for draft, signed with agent

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee guard Jaden Springer says he's signing with an agent and declaring for the 2021 NBA draft after his freshman season.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Lee revives K-12 mental health trust fund push

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is reviving a proposal to put $250 million into a trust fund that would help expand mental health services for school-aged children.

Tennessee lawmakers sending gov permitless carry gun bill

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee can soon sign off on his proposal to let most adults 21 and older carry handguns — concealed or openly — without a license that now requires a background check and training.

COURTS

Justice Department to review how best to fight hate crimes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday ordered a review of how the Justice Department can best deploy its resources to combat hate crimes during a surge in incidents targeting Asian Americans.

Supreme Court case could change the nature of college sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Supreme Court case being argued this week amid March Madness could erode the difference between elite college athletes and professional sports stars.

Home confinement for man, mother charged in Capitol riot

A federal judge on Monday authorized the release of a Georgia woman and her Tennessee son on charges of involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

REAL ESTATE

US home prices soared in January by most in seven years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices increased at the fastest pace in seven years in January as the pandemic has fueled demand for single-family houses even as the supply for such homes shrinks.

AUTO INDUSTRY

VW plans brand-name change to 'Voltswagen' in US

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen plans to change its brand name in the United States to "Voltswagen" as its shifts its production increasingly toward electric vehicles and tries to distance itself from an emissions cheating scandal.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

IMF head: Global growth prospects rising but dangers remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the 190-nation International Monetary Fund says prospects for global growth have brightened since January, helped by a $1.9 trillion U.S. rescue package. But she warns that uneven progress in fighting the pandemic could jeopardize the economic gains.

Turkey reimposes restrictions after sharp rise in infections

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey is re-introducing weekend lockdowns in most of its provinces and will also impose restrictions over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan following a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.

Germany to restrict AstraZeneca use in under-60s due to clots

BERLIN (AP) — German health officials have agreed to restrict the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in people under 60, amid fresh concern over unusual blood clots reported from those who received the shots.

World leaders' call for pandemic treaty short on details

LONDON (AP) — More than 20 heads of government and global agencies called in a commentary published Tuesday for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations in the wake of COVID-19.

Some medical experts unconvinced about holding Tokyo Games

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics open in under four months, and the torch relay has begun to crisscross Japan with 10,000 runners. Organizers say they are mitigating the risks, but some medical experts aren't convinced.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

US stocks slip in mixed trading as rate pressure ratchets up

Rising Treasury yields put pressure once more on big technology companies Tuesday, pulling U.S. stock indexes further below their recent all-time highs.

'Lighting a fuse': Amazon vote may spark more union pushes

What happens inside a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, could have major implications not just for the country's second-largest employer but the labor movement at large.

Consumer confidence surges in March to highest point in year

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence surged in March to the highest reading in a year, helped by increased vaccinations and more government economic support.

With ship now freed, a probe into Suez Canal blockage begins

SUEZ, Egypt (AP) — Experts boarded the massive container ship Tuesday that had blocked Egypt's vital Suez Canal and disrupted global trade for nearly a week, seeking answers to a single question that could have billions of dollars in legal repercussions: What went wrong?

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Blinken ends Trump rights plan promoting conservative agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sharp rebuke to Trump-era policies, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday formally scrapped a blueprint championed by his predecessor to limit U.S. promotion of human rights abroad to causes favored by conservatives like religious freedom and property matters while dismissing reproductive and LGBTQ rights.

Biden announces diverse first slate of judicial nominees

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled his first slate of judicial nominees, a racially diverse and mostly female field that is a sharp departure from the largely white and male picks during Donald Trump's administration.

A look at President Biden's first 11 judicial nominees

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has announced his first slate of judicial nominees. The list released by the White House on Tuesday includes Black, Muslim and Asian American Pacific Islander candidates among the nine women and two men.

Trump's heir? Pence reemerges, lays groundwork for 2024 run

WASHINGTON (AP) — When former President Donald Trump was asked to list those he considers the future leaders of the Republican Party, he quickly rattled off names including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. Conspicuously absent from the list: Mike Pence.


MONDAY, MARCH 29
VANDERBILT SPORTS

Vanderbilt to spend $300M to upgrade football, hoops

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt announced a $300 million project Monday to improve football and basketball facilities and a new Vandy United Fund to raise money for athletics programs.

UT SPORTS

Vols crack baseball Top 10, Vanderbilt remains No. 1

Fresh off its first three-game sweep of LSU since 2008, Tennessee is out to its best start in Southeastern Conference play in 20 years.

PREDATORS

Josi lifts Predators past Blackhawks 3-2 for 5th straight

CHICAGO (AP) — Roman Josi scored with 6:33 left in the third period and the surging Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night for their fifth straight victory.

Predators sign defenseman David Farrance to entry-level deal

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Nashville Predators have signed defenseman David Farrance to a two-year, entry-level contract a day after he wrapped up his Boston University career.

NASHVILLE AREA

Nashville sets flood debris collection guidelines

Metro Public Works has issued the following guidelines for residents who need to place flood debris at the curbside for collection following the March 27-28 flood:

MIDSTATE

Tennessee floods claim fifth victim; more rain on the way

ASHLAND CITY (AP) — Flash flooding in Tennessee has claimed a fifth victim after authorities said a man drove his car around barricades and apparently drowned.

MTSU pilot training program may have outgrown airport

MURFREESBORO (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University's flight training program may be a victim of its own success. It has grown so much that it may have outgrown its airport, and the constant training flights are causing friction with neighboring homeowners and commercial pilots.

STATEWIDE

Tennessee National Guard picks command chief warrant officer

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee National Guard will install a new command chief warrant officer during a ceremony this week.

COURTS

Nashville launches diversionary eviction court program

NASHVILLE (AP) — A new diversionary court program in Tennessee's capital city is aiming to help keep tenants at risk of eviction from facing harsh legal consequences and charges on their records.

Court to hear bid for new defense of Kentucky abortion law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from Kentucky's attorney general, who wants to be allowed to defend a restriction on abortion rights that lower courts had struck down.

Applicants sought for judicial opening in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — Applications are being taken for a new judge in Tennessee serving Bradley, Polk, McMinn and Monroe counties.

Paris court convicts, fines pharma firm for deadly diet pill

PARIS (AP) — A Paris court handed hundreds of millions of euros in damages and fines to a French pharmaceutical company on Monday for its role in one of the nation's biggest modern health scandals, finding it guilty of manslaughter and other charges for selling a diabetes drug blamed for hundreds of deaths.

MEDIA

Alternative bidders emerge for newspaper chain Tribune

A group of alternative bidders is emerging for newspaper chain Tribune Publishing, which had agreed to a $630 million acquisition by hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

TRANSPORTATION

Passenger vehicle travel rebounding to pre-pandemic levels

Americans may be rounding a corner — literally — in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Southwest Airlines orders 100 Boeing 737 Max planes

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines said Monday it is expanding its all-Boeing fleet with an order for 100 Max jets instead of buying planes from Europe's Airbus.

ENVIRONMENT

Biden boosts offshore wind energy, wants to power 10M homes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving to sharply increase offshore wind energy along the East Coast, saying Monday it is taking initial steps toward approving a huge wind farm off the New Jersey coast as part of an effort to generate electricity for more than 10 million homes nationwide by 2030.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Biden, CDC director warn of virus rebound if nation lets up

WASHINGTON (AP) — Too many Americans are declaring virus victory too early, President Joe Biden and a top health official declared Monday, appealing for mask requirements and other restrictions to be maintained or restored to stave off a "fourth surge" of COVID-19. The head of the CDC said she had a feeling of "impending doom" if people keep easing off.

Ban on renter evictions during COVID-19 pandemic is extended

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO report: COVID likely 1st jumped into humans from animals

GENEVA (AP) — A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is "extremely unlikely," according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.

Happy Monday? England embarks on major easing of lockdown

LONDON (AP) — It's being dubbed Happy Monday, with open-air swimmers donning their wetsuits for the first time in months and rusty golfers doing their best to get their drives down the middle of the fairway.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Late fade pushes S&P 500 index slightly below its record high

Stocks didn't manage to hold on to the meager gains they made on Wall Street Monday, pulling the S&P 500 slightly below the record high it set late last week.

Reacting to bloody coup, US suspends trade deal with Myanmar

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Monday suspended a trade deal with Myanmar until a democratic government is brought back to the Southeast Asian country after a bloody Feb. 1 coup.

What to know about the Amazon union vote

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are deciding whether they want to form a union, the biggest labor push in the online shopping giant's history.

Biden economic plan to focus 1st on infrastructure this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will lay out the first part of his multitrillion-dollar economic recovery package this week, focusing on rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure, followed by a separate plan later in April addressing child and health care.

News Corp. buys Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books division

NEW YORK (AP) — Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is buying Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's book-publishing division, with titles by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Curious George children's series, for $349 million.

China cuts taxes to spur semiconductor development

BEIJING (AP) — China announced tax breaks Monday to spur growth of its semiconductor industry following U.S. sanctions that alarmed the ruling Communist Party by cutting off access to American processor chips for tech giant Huawei and some other companies.

Giant container ship that blocked Suez Canal is finally free

SUEZ, Egypt (AP) — Salvage teams on Monday freed a colossal container ship stuck for nearly a week in the Suez Canal, ending a crisis that had clogged one of the world's most vital waterways and halted billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

A key to bridging the political divide: Sit down and talk?

NEW YORK (AP) — A few years ago, Dave Isay started worrying about America as he saw the middle ground between the political parties vanish into what he calls "disconnection and a vast void."

Court fight against Georgia voting overhaul no sure thing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Court challenges to Republican-led election restrictions in Georgia and elsewhere face an uncertain road in a legal system that has grown more conservative in recent years.

White House says it's working on access to migrant centers

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to provide a specific date for when the media will get access to Border Patrol facilities temporarily holding thousands of migrant children seeking to live in the United States, but said Sunday the Biden administration was committed to transparency and "we're working to get that done as soon as we can."


FRIDAY, MARCH 26
PREDATORS

Grimaldi scores 4 goals as Predators rout Red Wings 7-1

NASHVILLE (AP) — Rocco Grimaldi had a career night, thanks in large part to Trudy.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Titans' new receiver eager to work in high-powered offense

NASHVILLE (AP) — Josh Reynolds looked at his offers and saw plenty of opportunity in Tennessee with the Titans.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee Lottery must reinstate sports betting license

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Nashville judge ruled Friday that Tennessee Education Lottery officials must reinstate the license of a sports betting company that was accused of lacking the proper safeguards to stop debit card fraud.

COURTS

Former top broker gets over 17 years for scamming clients

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania financial adviser who earned millions by pushing high-risk, high-fee investments on unsuspecting retirees was sentenced Friday to more than 17 years in federal prison.

VW to seek damages from former executives for diesel scandal

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen is seeking damages from two former top executives for their role in the diesel emissions scandal that cost the German automaker billions of euros and a hefty dent in its reputation.

Dominion Voting sues Fox for $1.6B over 2020 election claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant, in an effort to boost faltering ratings, falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.

REAL ESTATE

WeWork stock offer comes amid doubtful need for office space

NEW YORK (AP) — Uncertainty about demand for office space in a global pandemic is a big risk that investors will have to weigh as WeWork makes a second run at a public stock offering.

ENVIRONMENT

Biden invites Russia, China to first global climate talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is including rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the U.S. hopes will help shape, speed up and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution, administration officials told The Associated Press.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Nissan-Renault rift at center of Japanese trial of American

TOKYO (AP) — The trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly in a Tokyo court is increasingly focusing on a rift between Nissan Motor Co. and its French alliance partner.

Agency finds that Elon Musk tweet violated federal labor law

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted his way into trouble with another federal agency, this time the National Labor Relations Board.

TOURISM

Smokies offering Storybook Trail for families this spring

GATLINBURG (AP) — A trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be lined with pages from children's storybooks this spring.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Shots in little arms: COVID-19 vaccine testing turns to kids

The 9-year-old twins didn't flinch as each received test doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine -- and then a sparkly bandage to cover the spot.

Aid groups call on Biden to develop plans to share vaccines

WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of nongovernmental organizations is calling on President Joe Biden to immediately begin developing plans to share an expected surplus of hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses with the world, once U.S. demand for shots is met.

As contact tracing ebbs in parts of US, NYC stays committed

NEW YORK (AP) — Coronavirus contact tracing programs across the U.S. scaled back their ambitions as cases surged in winter, but New York City has leaned into its $600 million tracing initiative.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks climb, erasing weekly losses for the S&P 500 index

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street Friday, erasing the market's losses from earlier in the week and avoiding a second straight weekly drop for the S&P 500.

Consumer spending dipped 1% as winter storms raked the US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers spending and personal incomes both fell sharply in February as severe winter storms disrupted shopping in many parts of the country and the government wrapped up distribution of $600 relief payments.

WeWork attempts to go public again, this time through a SPAC

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly two years after its attempted initial public offering of shares disintegrated, WeWork is going public in a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company.

Fed says restrictions on bank dividends and buybacks to end

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve said Thursday that as of June 30 it will end for most banks the temporary limits it had imposed on their ability to make dividend payments and buy back their own stock.

Caesars puts pandemic losses at $2B, wants insurers to pay

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino giant Caesars Entertainment Inc. is putting its losses because of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 at more than $2 billion, and is suing a long list of insurance carriers it accuses of balking at paying its business interruption costs.

Egypt races to dislodge giant vessel blocking Suez Canal

SUEZ, Egypt (AP) — Tugboats and a specialized suction dredger worked Friday to dislodge a giant container ship that has been stuck sideways in Egypt's Suez Canal for the past three days, blocking a crucial waterway for global shipping.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Pelosi taps DC National Guard head to lead House security

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that she had tapped Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, to be the House's first African American sergeant-at-arms.

Democrats seek government records in Capitol riot probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are asking 10 federal agencies for documents and communications from the government as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the attack on the Capitol and how it happened.

Trump defends Capitol rioters, says there was 'zero threat'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Thursday defended some of his supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying they posed "zero threat" to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the Electoral College vote that confirmed Joe Biden's victory in the presidential race.

Biden vows action on migrants as he defends border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will take steps to more quickly move hundreds of migrant children and teens out of cramped detention facilities along the Southwest border, President Joe Biden said. He was pushing back against suggestions that his administration's policies are responsible for the rising number of people seeking to enter the country.


THURSDAY, MARCH 25
SPORTS

Defense dominates, Hoosiers beat Belmont in women's NCAAs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Indiana had barely earned its biggest win in NCAA Tournament history when coach Teri Moren emerged from her locker room soaked from head to toe.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Bill would allow students to opt out of LGBT curriculum

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation requiring school districts to alert parents of any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity, allowing them to opt their student out of such instruction.

STATEWIDE

Former GOP Chairman, Tennessee Sen. Bill Brock dies at 90

NASHVILLE (AP) — Former Tennessee Sen. Bill Brock, whose long career in Washington included a key role in rebuilding the Republican Party after the Watergate scandal, died Thursday morning. He was 90.

EDUCATION

Vanderbilt announces new dean of nursing

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt University announced on Wednesday that Pamela Jeffries will be the new dean of nursing pending approval by the Board of Trust.

COURTS

Guns are on Supreme Court's agenda days after mass shootings

WASHINGTON (AP) — A possible expansion of gun rights is on the Supreme Court's agenda, days after mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia.

High court: More police excessive force suits can go forward

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is siding with a New Mexico woman who was shot by police as she drove away from them, in a case that will allow more excessive force lawsuits against police to go forward.

Justices say accident victims can sue Ford in state courts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Ford Motor Co. can be sued in the state courts of people who were killed or seriously injured in accidents involving Ford vehicles.

TRANSPORTATION

Airlines return to old ways; Southwest drops boarding change

As Americans slowly return to flying, airlines are dropping some of the changes they made early in the pandemic.

ENVIRONMENT

In shift, oil industry group backs federal price on carbon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The oil and gas industry's top lobbying group on Thursday endorsed a federal price on carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, a reversal of longstanding industry policy that comes as the Biden administration has pledged dramatic steps to address climate change.

EU's top court rejects effort to force tougher climate rules

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top court on Thursday rejected an effort by a Scandinavian youth group and families around the world to force the EU to set more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that they were not "individually" affected by Europe's climate policy.

TECHNOLOGY

General says attacks by foreign hackers are 'clarion call'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Cyber Command conducted more than two dozen operations aimed at preventing interference in last November's presidential election, the general who leads the Pentagon's cyber force said Thursday.

AUTO INDUSTRY

GM expands board to 13 with Meg Whitman, NBA's Mark Tatum

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors said Thursday that it has expanded its board to 13 members and appointed former Hewlett-Packard chief Meg Whitman and NBA executive Mark Tatum as directors.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Biden doubles goal of COVID vaccines to 200 million doses

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden opened his first formal news conference Thursday with a nod toward the improving picture on battling the coronavirus, doubling his original goal by pledging that the nation will administer 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of his first 100 days in office.

AstraZeneca confirms strong vaccine protection after US rift

AstraZeneca insists that its COVID-19 vaccine is strongly effective even after counting additional illnesses in its U.S. study, the latest in an extraordinary public dispute with American officials.

Lawmakers: Require nursing homes to disclose vaccine data

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nursing homes have to publicly disclose their vaccination rates for flu and pneumonia but there's no similar mandate for COVID-19 shots, even though the steepest toll from the virus has been among residents of long-term care facilities.

White House to spend $10 billion to bolster vaccine effort

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House announced Thursday that it is dedicating another $10 billion to try to drive up vaccination rates in low-income, minority and rural enclaves throughout the country.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks pull mostly higher, shaking off some early wobbles

Stocks regained their footing after an early slide and closed broadly higher Thursday, led by gains in financial and industrial companies.

Senate votes to extend small biz loan program for 2 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed a bill 92-7 on Thursday to extend the deadline for business owners to apply for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, giving applicants two more months to apply for federal aid.

US jobless claims drop to 684K, fewest since pandemic erupted

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to 684,000, the fewest since the pandemic erupted a year ago and a sign that the economy is improving.

Powell likens emergency Covid efforts to efforts at Dunkirk

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell compared the actions taken by the central bank early in the pandemic as the economy barreled toward a recession to British efforts in World War II to evacuate troops at Dunkirk.

Government revises 4th quarter GDP up slightly to 4.3%

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.3% in the final three months of 2020, slightly faster than previously estimated, as recovery expectations for 2021 rise along with vaccinations and the provision of nearly $2 trillion in additional government support.

Lawmakers press Big Tech CEOs on speech responsibility

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google faced a grilling Thursday as lawmakers tried to draw them into admitting ' responsibility for helping fuel the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and rising COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

Treasury sends out additional 37 million relief payments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it has sent out another 37 million economic impact payments, bringing the total disbursed in the past two weeks to $325 billion.

Stuck ship in Egypt's Suez Canal imperils shipping worldwide

ISMAILIA, Egypt (AP) — A skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal further imperiled global shipping Thursday as at least 150 other vessels needing to pass through the crucial waterway idled waiting for the obstruction to clear, authorities said.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Biden leaves door open for Senate change to pass agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden at his first news conference Thursday left the door open to pushing for fundamental changes in Senate procedures to muscle key elements of his agenda such as immigration and voting rights past firm Republican opposition "if there's complete lockdown and chaos."

AP FACT CHECK: Biden skews figures on border, taxes, more

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday misstated the reality at the U.S.-Mexico border when he asserted that "nothing has changed" when it comes to the number of children coming to the United States since his predecessor, Donald Trump, was in office. The numbers are up since Biden became president on Jan. 20.

Voting rights, hate crimes on Senate's 'big, bold' agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wrapping up the most tumultuous Senate start in recent memory, new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took stock Thursday of accomplishments including the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue  while vowing action ahead on voting rights, hate crimes and mounting Democratic priorities hitting stiff opposition from Republicans.

US cyber experts conducted operations to safeguard election

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Cyber Command conducted more than two dozen operations aimed at preventing interference in last November's presidential election, the general who leads the Pentagon's cyber force said Thursday.

Buttigieg pitches infrastructure needs to divided Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is warning that the country's infrastructure needs exceed $1 trillion and that other countries, namely China, are pulling ahead of the U.S. with their public works investments, a scenario he describes as "a threat to our collective future."

Mass shooters exploited gun laws, loopholes before carnage

The suspect in the shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket was convicted of assaulting a high school classmate but still got a gun. The man accused of opening fire on three massage businesses in the Atlanta area bought his gun just hours before the attack — no waiting required.

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